Institute of Food Technologists Launches Global Food Traceability Center

The goal of the new initiative is to prevent foodborne illness and recalls

This "tangled web" of milk increases the chance for any sickness and infection.

Over the years there have been more and more recalls and food borne illnesses. But with the launch of a new program dedicated to exploring food through a scientific lens, there is hope that we may see less.

The Institute of Food Technologists, a non-profit institute created to improve food through science and technology, has launched a new program called The Global Food Traceability Center.

Will Fisher, the vice president of IFT, who spoke during the initiative;s launch in Washington, D.C., explained that the center’s purpose is to “become a global resource to food traceability.”

So what exactly is traceability? It’s the process of how we get our food. Think of it as the farm to table method. What are the steps of how our food is processed? Where does it come from? Over the years, these steps have turned from a simple straight line to a desperate “tangled web,” according to Fisher.

For example, the milk you drink used to come straight from the cow. But now other steps include a visit to the lab, pasteurization, and a a trip to the factory for packaging. These complicated steps can increase the risk of contamination and illness. The center will work on preventing these illnesses or recalls, such as the most recent Chobani incident, in which moldy yogurt made its way onto shelves.

To do so, the center will focus on developing the proper requirements for food traceability and educating companies and people on the topic.

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We’ll most likely begin to see major benefits from increased traceability almost immediately. The new system will be able to quickly identify what it is in the foods causing these sicknesses, leading to a reduction in, and better prevention of, illnesses and risks.